Against the Grain: Lessons in Entrepreneurship from the Founder of Cobra Beer

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Wiley, Apr 3, 2009 - Business & Economics - 240 pages
'Every bit as good as the beer itself.' Sir Richard Branson

From selling the first cases of Cobra out of the back of a battered old Citroen 2CV along the streets of West London to exporting to over 40 countries around the world, Karan Bilimoria's vision of a less gassy beer has travelled a long way.

Starting out with a heap of student debt, a complete lack of industry experience and parents desperate for their son to get a proper job, it could all so easily have gone wrong. But Karan's single-minded determination to succeed and his ability to inspire those around him to buy into his vision, turned Cobra, sip-by-sip, into the multi-million pound business it is today. Karan's story bottles the very essence of entrepreneurship: vision, drive, creativity and a relentless battle against all odds, to make the idea you so passionately believe in work.

Against the Grain is packed with insights into finance, strategy, planning, luck, discipline, and generally doing the unexpected to build your own business, from someone who's been there and done it... and all with just a little less gas.

'Essential reading.' Richard Reed, Co-founder, Innocent Drinks

'An inspirational story.' Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer WPP

'Karan Bilimoria is one of the great entrepreneurs...' Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone

'Inspiring! … worth the cover price for the "Financing Cobra" chapter alone.' Professor John Mullins, London Business School

'… His story should inspire youth everywhere who are fired by the dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.' Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Group

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About the author (2009)

A Cambridge law graduate, Karan Bilimoria started his career somewhat incongruously as a chartered accountant at Ernst & Young. He was also Sales & Marketing Director at European Accounting Focus Magazine. Also incongruously, it was approximately a year later that he began to realise his vision for a less gassy, premium quality lager brewed to appeal to ale drinkers and lager drinkers alike. At the time, Karan was 27 years old and with 20,000 of student debt.

Since founding Cobra Beer, Karan has also expanded his product range to include General Bilimoria Wines in 1999, and founding Tandoori Magazine and He is a member of the government's National Employment Panel, and Chairman of The Panel's Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Board. He is also Vice Chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Asian Business Association.

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